Duda says Poland to send 4 MiG-29s to Ukraine ‘within days’
President Andrzej Duda says Poland will give Ukraine four MiG-29 fighter jets in the coming days, a move that will make his country the first NATO member to fulfil the Ukrainian government’s increasingly urgent requests for such aircraft.
Poland plans to dispatch a total of 12 Soviet-made jets, Duda said on Thursday.
“Firstly, literally within the next few days, we will hand over, as far as I remember, four aircraft to Ukraine in full working order,” Duda said at a news conference in Warsaw with Petr Pavel, the president of the Czech Republic.
The rest of the fighter jets would be supplied after necessary checks have been completed, Duda said.
“[They] are being prepared, serviced,” he said.
Duda did not say if other countries would be making the same move although Slovakia has said it would send MiGs that it is not using to Ukraine.
On Wednesday, Polish government spokesman Piotr Mueller said other countries with MiGs also had pledged them to Ukraine, but he did not name them.
While Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has pleaded with his allies to share their fighter jets, NATO countries have expressed hesitancy.
Before Russia’s full-scale invasion in February last year, Ukraine had several dozen MiG-29s it inherited in the collapse of the Soviet Union, but it is unclear how many of them remain in service after more than a year of fighting.
Duda said Poland’s air force would replace the planes it gives to Ukraine with South Korea-made FA-50 fighters and United States-made F-35 jets.
Poland has sent 14 German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.